Traipsing Across Ga. Hwy 96 (part 2): Stopping for BBQ and Fried Chicken
May 13, 2015
Similar to my tastes in music, I have a wide-range of likes in terms of dining out. I can put on a tux and enjoy an epic meal that lasts for hours in some elegant setting, or be just as happy in a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt eating a burger at the beach. Too, I very much enjoy dining in establishments that cater to a varied clientele; to me it is good to see people breaking bread together that maybe wouldn’t get to do so otherwise. We’re all God’s children, and need to be brought together from time to time to remind us we’re all made in His image. You get that wonderful chance every time you pass through the screen doors of either the White Diamond or GLC’s.
(White Diamond BBQ, Hwy. 96, Bonaire, GA)
White Diamond has been a favorite of mine since I was a barefoot little urchin growing up in Perry in the 1960's. Located in the tiny hamlet of Bonaire, at the crossroads of Georgia Highways 96 and 247, the restaurant is housed in a whitewashed building made of diamond shaped cinderblocks, thus its name. The White Diamond has been serving the best wet BBQ you can find in Georgia since 1949, and standing in line waiting to get a seat you’ll see people who push pencils for a living talking to those who push mowers to pay their bills.
(Miss Tina serving up a BBQ plate)
My parents were friends with the owners, and fished together often. Miss Tina still runs the place and always greets me at the door with a smile as wide as the Ocmulgee and a big warm hug. When I leave, I usually have in tow several pounds of their fabulous shredded pork in Styrofoam containers, which I’ll share with friends back in Savannah. Their ‘Q is hardwood smoked piled thick on soft, white buns with thinly sliced pickles wrapped in wax paper; these babies are just heaven to eat . White Diamond is also known for their freshly made French fries; you’ll see a half dozen or so 50-pound bags of potatoes in the kitchen, which they’ll slice into long strips, soak in cold water, and then deep fry -- talk about good. And don’t forget the handmade hamburgers cooked on an old, perfectly seasoned griddle, or their fall-off-the-bones smoked ribs. My problem when I go to White Diamond is deciding just what to order – I want it all……
(GLC Snack Shack, just off Hwy. 96, in downtown Reynolds, GA)
The second spot is a more recent favorite I found through the introduction of my friend Allen Pettis over in Columbus, who is one of the state’s outstanding sportsmen and someone who also knows good food. He told me I needed to stop in and visit the folks at GLC’s Snack Shack in downtown Reynolds if I wanted some seriously good fried chicken, and he was dead on right. Located in an historic brick building just off 96 on Wainwright St., GLC is not fancy, but also a far cry from being a “shack.” Gwen Childree, the charming owner, named the restaurant after her nephew, Garrett, and her two children, Lacey and Chase. Like my BBQ spot up the road, you’ll find bankers, barbers and bricklayers all coming in and out for a chili dog or hamburger, or a plate of that incredible yard-bird Allen told me about.
(GLC’s lip-smacking fried chicken and sweet slaw)
On my first step inside, I noticed right away that there were bottles of cane syrup, molasses and honey on the counter to pour over your fried chicken – a sure sign to me that these folks knew how to make their patrons happy. My most recent lunch there was a leg and a thigh, sweet house-made coleslaw, French fries, a roll, and large iced tea, all for the whopping sum – with taxes added in– of $ 6.45.
(The condiments lined up for your biscuits and fried chicken at GLC)
So a word to you all who love simple, good, and wonderful Southern food served by big-hearted ladies: go sit a spell at the White Diamond and GLC’s Snack Shack, and give yourself a real down-home treat. Comfort food for the tummy, and just plain comfort for the soul.